The hardware on your furniture can be used to date the piece, providing it is original hardware. Reflecting the architectural ornamentation of the period, inlays were popular, as was carving and even painted highlights. These areas should be worn out.
How to Date Furniture by Casters
This foot type has been popular almost continuously, in variations, since it was introduced in the s. This is a simple, basic furniture foot style with a square or cube-like shape. Cabriole refers to a popular furniture leg with the knee curving outward and the ankle curving inward terminating in an ornamental foot.
- Other than what might be needed structurally, it is often difficult to find a straight element in Rococo Revival furniture.
- Because the architectural style of the Empire period used big, open rooms, the sofa was now allowed to be in the center of the room, with a table behind it.
- If the screws look newer or the style of the hardware differs from the style of the rest of the piece, the hardware is no longer a good indicator.
- Hardware was often made in copper.
If you see one large dovetail, the piece could be early eighteenth century. This book gave cabinetmakers real direction and they soon eagerly copied the styles presented. The Empire Classical period influence is felt, but French Restoration lacks some of the ornamentation and fussiness of that period. Shelly McRae is a freelance writer residing in Phoenix, Ariz.
This era saw the wide usage of turned moldings and dark woods, but this time stained to imitate ebony and lacquer. Measure the tabletop for round tables. New colonists in America brought their English furniture traditions with them and tried to translate these styles using native woods. Do not depend only on hardware style to date a piece.
It is characterized by elements reminiscent of Greek architecture, such as pilasters, flutes, column, acanthus, foliate scrolls, Greek key motifs and anthemion high-relief carving. Lines are crisp, with some use of controlled curves. It is usually found on case pieces. Most antique wooden furniture you will encounter, will either be from traditional English periods or American Colonial styles. Look for Gothic arches, Chinese fretwork, columns, capitals, C-scrolls, S-scrolls, ribbons, flowers, leaves, scallop shells, gadrooning and acanthus leaves.
Expect to find straight legs or fluted and slightly tapered legs. Chair rails were more often mortised through the back legs when made in Philadelphia. Ornamentation and high relief carving included flowers, fruits, game, classical busts, acanthus scrolls, strapwork, dating apparel tassels and masks. The French held it in higher esteem. Look on the underside or backside of the piece.
This is a rounded, turned furniture foot style in a variation of the bun foot. Straight saw marks also indicate an old piece. The finish on the wood can also date the piece. One exception to this is known as the Spanish foot, which flares to a scroll.
Timeline and descriptions of antique furniture styles
This layered effect was achieved by gluing thin layers together, with the grains running at right angles on each new layer. The thick panels created were then steamed in molds to create the illusion of carving. The corners should be dovetailed together.
This is a furniture foot style in which a simple, flattened oval-shaped block of wood rests on a disk or pad. Chippendale was influenced by ancient cultures, such as the Romans, and Gothic influences. It was especially popular, with regional variations, in Irish and Philadelphia furniture. This style is best simplified as the plainest of the Victorian styles.
Recognizing Age and Construction in Antique Furniture
The Chrysler Building in New York City remains among the finest example of Art Deco architecture and those same straight lines and gentle curves are found in furniture. Look at the craftsmanship of the dovetails. It is a variation of the club foot, distinguished by the underlying disk. On handmade furniture, rungs, slats, spindles, rockers, and other small-diameter components are not uniform.
Tips & Advice on Identifying Antique Furniture
The American craftsmen began to incorporate more flowing patriotic motifs, such as eagles with spread wings. Finishes were natural, fumed or painted. Japanned decoration tends to be in red, green and gilt, often on a blue-green field. Woods used were again dark, but more native woods, such as oak, maple and pine, were incorporated. New technology advancements allowed more machined parts to be generated.
Victorian, The Victorian period as it relates to furniture styles can be divided into several distinct styles. Look at the nails used in the construction of your piece of furniture. Table legs should be nicked from kicks and the feet flat from being dragged.
Identifying Antique Furniture
It is sometimes referenced as a scrolled bracket foot. Sometimes referenced as a melon foot. Carved details gave dimension and interest.
Stylistically it also reflects the architectural style known as Federal, where balance and symmetry were extremely important. Sheraton, The style known as Sheraton closely resembles Federal. Years and years of handling and contact with skin oils should leave a patina on both the handles and the surrounding wood. Legs tend to be sweeping or cabriole. How to Identify Antique Dressers.
Forms tend to be attenuated in New England. You should look at the screws, nails, wood, perks of dating a joining and hardware. The saber style is a type of splayed furniture leg flaring out in a concave shape like a saber or curved sword. Furniture that had mechanical parts was also embraced by the Victorians of this era.
Upholstery becomes slimmer. Check the areas around the handles. The spade foot style has a rectangular shape that is wide at the top tapering to a narrower base. Several new forms of tables also came into being, dating minsk especially the sofa table.
Shapes of furniture from this style tend to be more rectangular. It is similar to a reeded leg, except that fluted channels are concave compared to convex or raised. Wood shrinks over time, and only in one direction.
- They are the sideboard and the worktable.
- It was originally published in London.
- Spider legs can also be slim, straight legs found on gatefold tables.
Other interior or home decorators tend not to take things so seriously but are still interested in items, history and authenticity. One of his principles was the relationship between function, form and craftsmanship. Fine old works are often French-polished, a variation of the shellac finish. The cutting of the shaft should be uneven and the end blunted rather than pointed.
Becoming knowledgeable about antique furniture takes research, even if you are focusing on only one aspect of this wide-ranging subject. How to Identify Antique Cabinets. Determining the age of antique furniture is not an exact science, but there are certain indicators of age evident in furniture.
But if you are looking at a piece and need a quick idea, these few tips will help you along. Links within each description lead to more information on styles, periods, and types of antique furniture. This is sometimes called a drake foot.